Monday, May 23, 2016

"Let's Get Crafty" Birthday Party for Tweens

My daughter turned 10 this month.  Man, does that make me feel old!
My kids get to have a birthday party with friends every three years. It feels like I was just throwing her 7 year old baking themed party--and just like that it's three years later and time to start party planning again. It's amazing how time flies! To celebrate turning 10 she decided on a craft themed party this year. My daughter is super creative and very talented artistically so it wasn't surprising that she chose to spend time with her friends doing something she loves.
"Let's Get Crafty" Birthday Party for Tweens, arty party, craft party, tween birthday

I like to involve my kids as much as possible when planning their birthday parties so it turns out to be everything they hoped for--and my daughter is a great party planner; she had been doing it since she was four years old after all.  I put my daughter in charge of decorating the party invitations because I knew she would be great at it. She had fun using her creativity to make them each unique. She used my stash of washi tape to create her designs. I like how she made each one different. They turned out so cute!
Washi tape birthday invitations, craft party, art party, tween party

This birthday cake one was my favorite.
Washi tape birthday invitations, art party, craft party, tween birthday

I loved how these invitations folded in the back.

They opened up to display all the party details.

We decorated in pink and blue--my daughters favorite colors . . . and mine too!

When friends arrived they got to pick from these adult coloring pages to color while waiting for the other guests to arrive.

After everyone arrived I introduced the girls to the projects we would be working on. The first was a monogram canvas art. Beforehand I drew the first initial of each girl on the canvas for her to decorate. (I did them lightly in pencil--so that's why you can't see them in the picture below.) I pinned several ideas on my craft party Pinterest board to share with them and to help them brainstorm ideas of how they'd like to decorate their canvas. I decided to have them decorate with sharpie markers instead of paint. Paint just felt too messy for me. I added some buttons to the table too if they wanted to use them as part of their art. I wish I had snapped a picture of the final product--but I got too busy hosting a party and all.  They all turned out unique and creative.  It was fun to see what everyone came up with.

After the canvas art we made these washi tape frames. The girls loved this project! I was worried this craft would eat up a lot of time but they were actually able to complete them pretty quickly.

I provided them with a variety of washi tape to choose from and a blank wood frame. I bought a ton of different styled frames from Michaels so they would have a variety to choose from.  Funny enough they all chose the same style frame.

Next week I will share a more detailed tutorial on the frames but here are a few of the completed ones. I think they turned out so nice.  The girls got to choose a quote to put inside their frames before they went home--I'll be sharing those next week too.

Here's the birthday girl with her completed frame. It looks so cute sitting on her dresser in her room now.

I provided some snacks for the girls to munch on while working on their projects.  Popcorn, fresh cut fruit, and for my sweet tooth birthday girl--candy cups filled with sour jelly beans, strawberry licorice and pomegranate gummy bears.

After the girls completed their projects we played a few games. I tried to come up with games that included drawing to keep with the theme of the party.

The first game we played was called The Sentence Game. It's kind of like the game telephone but instead of whispering a phrase you write a sentence, then draw a picture, then write a sentence. Once your paper makes it around the room and back to you its fun to see how your original sentence ended up. It was a fun and silly game. You can find the free printable game and detailed instructions at The Red Headed Hostess.

To fill in our extra time after opening presents and before parents came we played pictionary. I used these printable Pictionary words.  I set up our easel white board and split the girls into two teams. Some of the words I marked with a pink dot. If they pulled one of those words it was an all-play and either team could guess. The girls had a great time.

Instead of cake my daughter decided on these rice crispy treat paint brushes. She spied them on Pinterest and thought they looked like fun.  I don't think you can really go wrong with rice crispy treats. I used Mel's Brown Buttered Vanilla Rice Krispy Treat recipe and they tasted amazing. We dipped them in a blue icing and added a stick to the top. So fun and festive!

Each girl was given a small goody bag before she left. I tried to keep them pretty simple since they had their crafts to take home too. The bags were filled with a small note book, pencils, and a few pieces of candy.

Hooray for celebrations and a successful party day!

Monday, May 2, 2016

DIY Toy Stethoscope (and a giveaway of the book Teddy Bear Doctor!)

DIY Toy Stethoscope Doc McStuffins Doctor Felt veterinarian

One of the things I love most about being a mom is watching my kids play. I love to see them dress up and watch where their imaginations take them. Pretend play is such a magical and important part of childhood and learning.

Last month I hosted my four-year-olds preschool co-op group. We learned all about the letter V.  After talking about what words start with V and having vegetables for a snack the fun really started.  Each child was given a badge (I printed off these adorable ones from Kids Activities Blog) and a stethoscope and became a veterinarian for the morning.  We talked about what a veterinarian is and what a veterinarian does (I thought this clip from Sesame Street was perfect).  I set up part of the house to be a make-believe veterinarian clinic. We had a waiting room with chairs and an exam room stocked with bandages and medical instruments to take care of hurt animals.  We sorted all the sick animals (my children all donated their stuffed animals for the morning for us to use) and graphed them to see how many we had of each (to squeeze some math learning in there) and then the kids got to take turns caring for the animals.  I printed out these dramatic play veterinarian clinic printables for each little veterinarian to use.  They took temperatures, listened to heart beats, pulled splinters, gave shots, and wrapped up sore paws.

My group of four year olds had so much fun playing animal doctor!

Listening to a heart beat . . .

Filling out paper work . . .

This little puppy must have had a really sore paw.  I think he got every bandage in the room wrapped around it!

The kids loved having their own name badge and stethoscope to play with and take home. They were so simple to put together too. I picked up a pack of six headbands from the dollar store, cut 12 circles from felt and six hearts, and found some ribbon scraps from my stash.
DIY Toy Stethoscope

I sandwiched the ribbon between two felt circles, glued them all together along with heart on the top circle.

The top of the ribbon got hot glued around the center of the headband. I also wrapped and glued the ends of the the headband with some felt so little ears were safe from getting poked.  I noticed that the kids preferred to keep the stethoscope around their neck though--they didn't really put it up to their ears.

All done and ready to play!
DIY Toy Stethoscope

Just perfect for caring for any stuffed animal friend.
DIY Toy Stethoscope

Here's the whole batch. These could make a fun party favor for a Doc McStuffins party or something similar.
DIY Toy Stethoscope, Doc McStuffins, Veterinarian, Felt, Party Favor, Doctor

And one more bit of important information . . .

I wanted to tell you about this absolutely adorable book I found at my library while searching for children's books about veterinarians. I really wish I had found it before I had all my preschool preparations done. It's called Teddy Bear Doctor.
DIY Toy Stethoscope Teddy Bear Doctor

I was blown away with how clever and thought out this book was. It is packed full of creative ideas that will help your child create their own make-believe vet practice. The book starts out with projects for your child to make a "pet vet kit". It teaches them how to make a thermometer, syringe, stethoscope, and lab coat using everyday household items. The book then walks them through creating a waiting room, exam room, and recovery room. And my most favorite part of the book is found in the back. There you will find stickers and removable pages to aid your child in creating all the projects in the book. There are also patient check-in forms, appointment cards, exam checklists, and prescription forms. This book has it all! And it is all oh-so-cute!

Teddy Bear Doctor

Teddy Bear Doctor

A copy of Teddy Bear Doctor paired with a new plush toy would make such a fun gift! It's only $4.79 on Amazon right now. For that price you might as well get two copies . . . or three!

***Giveaway Closed***
So how can you enter to win? Simply leave a comment here on the blog or on our Facebook page telling us who you would love to share this book with.
Giveaway ends May 7, 2016

Don't want to wait to win? Pick up a copy here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Healthy Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Pie Bars

I'm always on the search for healthy desserts and nutrient dense snacks that will fill my kids hungry tummies right up.  This recipe fits the bill for both.  These pumpkin bars by themselves make a great snack but by adding a few chocolate chips to the recipe I've tricked my kids into thinking they're now dessert.  Personally my favorite way to eat them is by ditching the chocolate chips and sprinkling a few chopped pecans on instead. Sometimes I will even sprinkle three-fourths of the pan with chocolate chips and the other quarter with pecans so everyone is happy.

Not only are these pumpkin bars easy to whip together and free of refined sugar but they taste amazing!  They are so moist and light they practically melt in your mouth.  There's no reason to wait until fall to make these dreamy bars.  They are the perfect treat any time of year. 

Healthy Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Pie Bars (GAPS, Paleo, Egg-free, Grain-free

Pumpkin Pie Bars


3/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 well-ripened banana (should have lots of brown spots)
1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or pecans (optional)

Get the rest of the recipe over at Nourishing Bites.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Budsies - Custom Plush Creations (and a discount for you!)

It took us long enough but we're finally on Instagram!  Be sure to follow along @servingpinklemonade to sneak a peek at what we've been up to.

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Budsies - Custom Plush Toys. Have your child's artwork turned into a real live soft cuddly toy.

My two oldest children are exceptional artists.  They love to draw and have multiple sketch books filled with their creations!  Last summer I spotted an art contest at a store near us.  The winners of the contest would get their drawings turned into plush toys and would then be sold at the store.  How amazing would that be?  I'm sure a dream come true for any child.  I told my kids about the contest and they were super excited to enter.  They went right to work and within the next hour they had their entries complete.  They both came up with fun and clever ideas and I felt they both had a fair chance of winning.  My seven year old really wanted to win. He brought up the contest over the next several months weekly, if not daily.  His drawing was super cute, but knowing that there were thousands of entries I knew his chances of wining were slim.  After months of waiting, the winners were finally announced.  Even though my son knew the realty of winning was small I could see that he was awfully disappointed that he didn't win.

(Isn't this little guy just adorable? Who wouldn't want to hold and cuddle him?)

I started thinking that even though he didn't win the contest it would still be fun to turn his drawing into a plush toy on our own.  Doing it myself wasn't something I felt up to so I started searching for a company that would do it for me.  After looking at a few option I decided to go with Budsies.

I was really impressed with the whole process.  Creating the plush toy took several weeks but I loved how Budsies sent me emails keeping me updated on the progress as the toy was created.  First the designers interpreted the design, then sketched and cut the fabric, next was fluff and sew, then a double quality check, and last it was shipped to our front door.

My sons art-turned-plush toy arrived in this adorable box.

I could hardly wait to open the box and take a peek.  I loved how the first thing I saw when I opened the box was a copy of my sons original drawing and then underneath was his new plush toy!

I love how it turned out!  I think the design team at Busdies did a wonderful job. The craftsmanship is high quality and the fabric is so soft and cuddly.  I can hardly wait to gift it to my son for his birthday.  I can't wait to see the look on his face.  I just know he is going to be so surprised and love his new cuddly plush toy.

Can you hardly wait to turn one of your child's memorable pieces of art into their own custom cuddly plush toy?  I know it will be a gift they treasure!

The nice folks at Budsies are offering Serving Pink Lemonade readers 10% off their order.  Go HERE to get your discount!

Budsies - Custom Plush Toys

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt

My kids love scavenger hunts--most likely because they usually get a treat at the end of them.  A few weeks ago when I was at the library with my four year old we picked up this cute book called Max and Ruby's Treasure Hunt.  I loved how the grandma in the story used nursery rhymes for the treasure hunt clues.  The book had cute little lift the flap envelopes on each page and my four year old had so much fun trying to figure out the clues along with Max and Ruby.

I thought it was such a fun idea that I decided to recreate something similar for a fun St. Patrick's Day surprise for my kids. I created eight clues using nursery rhymes and placed them around the house.

Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt

When the kids arrived home from school they were greeted with this sign.  
Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt/ St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt
The first clue was inside. The clue read:
Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the ________.

By the candlestick they found their second clue.  It read:
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to see the queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her ________.

By a chair was clue number three. It read:
There was an old women who lived in a ________.
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.

By the shoe tray was clue number four. It said:
Hickory, dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the ________.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down.
Hickory, dickory dock.

By the clock was clue number five. It read:
Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle.
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the ________.

By the spoons was clue number six. It said:
Little boy blue, come blow your ________!
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.

Clue number seven was in the car by the horn. It said:
Miss Marry Mack, Mack, Mack,
All dressed in black, black, black,
Had silver ________, ________, ________,
All down her back, back, back.

 Clue number eight was by my sewing machine near the button box. The clue said:
Old Mother Hubbard, went to her ________,
To fetch her poor dog a bone.
When she got there the ________ was bare,
And so her poor dog had none.

And at last in they headed to the cupboard! This was end of the treasure hunt and where they found their treat--little pots filled with the best treasure ever, chocolate!

We usually don't do much to celebrate St. Patrick's day at our house but if I have the time to throw something together I do think it's a fun way to make childhood magical.  The kids had a blast tracking down the clues and the joy on their face made it very much worth my time putting it together. These kiddos of mine won't be little forever. We also had our traditional rainbow fruit salad for lunch.  Healthy and delicious!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!